United Way’s Hands On Birmingham Seeks Volunteers For Annual Day Of Action

Hands on Birmingham volunteers build a storage shed at the West End Community Garden. (File photo)

United Way’s Hands On Birmingham seeks volunteers for its annual Day of Action sponsored by EBSCO Industries.

Hands on Birmingham needs about 125 additional volunteers to participate in eight projects at local non-profit agencies. The event begins at 9 a.m. on June 6, according to the United Way.

Volunteers from four United Way affinity groups: The Tocqueville Society, Women United, Young Philanthropists and 50 Year Donors will be assembling senior care kits for Meals on Wheels clients at the New Hope Senior Center at 1310 17th Way SW in Birmingham.

To volunteer as an individual or organization, visit www.handsonbirmingham.org, email info@handsonbirmingham.org or call 205-251-5849.

Volunteers may choose from projects such as cleaning and organizing books for Better Basics, sorting food donations for the Community Food Bank of Central Al and cleaning the trails at Red Mountain State Park. Other volunteer locations include the Salvation Army, United Community Center, J.S. Abrams Elementary School and the ACIPCO/Finley neighborhood.

Hands On Birmingham, a United Way initiative, connects people with organized and meaningful volunteer opportunities to help bring about positive social change in their communities. Hands On Birmingham sponsors over 150 projects throughout the year and plans and implements large scale community projects and days of service to include: MLK Day, Family Volunteer Day, Project Homeless Connect, Day of Caring and 9/11 Week of Service and Remembrance.

Drakkar Fontez Avery Christian was shot to death Friday, May 26, 2017, at an Irondale home. A suspect is charged and sought in the killing.

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business

U.s. Marshals Searching For Wanted Man In Southwest Birmingham

Brandon Reshoyd Campbell

A search is underway in southwest Birmingham after a man wanted on felony warrants fled from U.S. Marshals searching for him.

Brandon Reshoyd Campbell, 25, was arrested last year on charges of attempted murder, violation of a domestic violence protection order, and burglary. The incident happened in October 2016 when authorities say he broke into his ex-girlfriend’s Birmingham home.

Once inside the home, he encountered another male and fired shots at him before fleeing the scene. He was arrested on the charges on Nov. 15, but later released on bond with a condition of electronic monitoring.

U.S. Marshal Marty Keely said Campbell cut off his electronic monitoring device, and the U.S. Marshals Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force was brought in to search for him. In April, Jefferson County District Judge Michael Streety issued an order noting that Campbell had repeatedly violated the monitoring conditions of his bond, despite warnings, instructions and citations.

Streety ordered that once in custody, Campbell be held without bond.

Keely said the task force received information of Campbell’s whereabouts Thursday morning and were searching for him in southwest Birmingham. When he spotted lawmen, he fled and led them on a brief chase. Ultimately, he bailed from his car and fled on foot.

The search is ongoing in the area of the 2100 block of Snavely Avenue where U.S. Marshals and Birmingham police have set up a perimeter. This is a developing story and will be updated as more information is released.

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Durham City Council to Vote on $4.2 Million Grant for Fayette Place Purchase

The Durham City Council is moving ahead with giving the Durham Housing Authority $4.2 million to buy 20 acres of crumbling foundations for future affordable housing.

The council plans to vote on the grant to Development Ventures Inc., (DVI) a development arm of the Durham Housing Authority, at its June 5 meeting.

The grant deal was on the council’s Thursday work session agenda, but members didn’t ask any questions or express concerns, indicating likely approval.

The money would allow DVI to re-purchase the property known as Fayette Place, which was sold to Campus Apartments in 2007. The area is bounded by Fayetteville, Umstead and Merrick streets, between downtown and N.C. Central University.

Most City Council members committed to supporting the grant at a recent Durham Congregations, Associations and Neighborhoods meeting.

On Thursday, City Councilman Charlie Reece said it’s essential to bring the property under public control.

Neighbors have expressed frustration for years about the vacant land and unmet promises.

They dated the decline of the once cohesive, affluent black neighborhood to longtime homeowners pushed out to make way for the Durham Freeway and a housing project billed as “urban renewal.”

Instead, the Fayetteville Street public housing complex opened, followed by plans for two affordable-housing projects that never happened.

The city grant will include more than $4 million to repurchase the property and $102,000 to maintain the property through 2019. About $47,000 would go to a market study and legal fees.

The purchase is set to close June 16. A market study is to be completed in August and the community-engagement process would be held in September.

The grant agreement requires the housing authority to mow the grass, remove trash and repair the fencing. The housing authority has to include affordable housing in whatever gets built and seek community input, including from the Hayti area and N.C. Central University.

The authority also has to provide quarterly financial updates and can’t sell the site without the consent of the city manager, the grant agreement states.

For about 35 years, the property housed the 200-unit Fayetteville Street public housing complex.

In the early 2000s, the Durham Housing Authority started to convert the property into Fayette Place, a low-income housing development funded with tax credits. The development never happened.

In 2007, Campus Apartments agreed to pay the authority $4 million for Fayette Place. The agreement allowed the authority to repurchase the property if Campus Apartments failed to rent at least 168 beds to N.C. Central University students or provide housing for low-income individuals.

Under the agreement, the housing authority can reacquire the property for the purchase price or a recent appraised value, whichever is higher. A recent appraisal valued the property at less than the $4 million the company paid.

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man

Durham City Calendar for Week of May 15-19

Durham City Government meetings scheduled this week include:

Monday, May 15

7:00 p.m. City Council Meeting (City Hall/1st Floor/Council Chambers)

Tuesday, May 16

7:00 p.m. Durham Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Commission (City Hall/2nd Floor/Committee Room)

Wednesday, May 17

8:30 a.m. Public Art Committee of the Durham Cultural Advisory Board (Durham Arts Council/120 Morris Street)

9:30 a.m. Upper Neuse River Basin Association (Town Hall/Camp Butner Room/415 Central Avenue/Butner, NC 27509)

3:00 p.m. Durham Cultural Advisory Board (The Bullpen/James B. Duke Boardroom/Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative/215 Morris St., Suite 300)

3:30 p.m. Audit/Finance Committee of the Durham Housing Authority Board of Commissioners (Durham Housing Authority/330 E. Main Street)

5:30 p.m. Housing Appeals Board (Neighborhood Improvement Services Department/807 E. Main Street/3rd Floor Conference Room/Suite 2-300/Golden Belt Building)

5:30 p.m. Open Space Committee of the Durham Open Space & Trails Commission (City Hall/Audit Services Area/1st Floor/Conference Room 1A)

5:45 p.m. Bond Committee of the Durham Open Space and Trails Commission (City Hall/2nd Floor/Committee Room)

6:00 p.m. Durham City-County Appearance Commission (Urban Design Studio/City Hall/City-County Planning Department/Ground Floor)

7:00 p.m. Durham Open Space & Trails Commission (City Hall/2nd Floor/Committee Room)

Thursday, May 18

1:00 p.m. City Council Work Session (City Hall/2nd Floor/Committee Room)

1:00 p.m. Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority Board of Directors (RDU Administrative Offices/1000 Trade Drive/RDU Airport, NC 27623)

1:00 p.m. Young Adult Resource Center Meeting of the Durham Homeless Services Advisory Committee (Independent Living Resources/411 Andrews Road, #230)

7:00 p.m. Affordable Housing Density Bonus Community Meeting (City Hall/1st Floor/Council Chambers)

7:00 p.m. Sister Cities of Durham, Inc. Board Meeting (Hibachi Grill/4600 Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard)

Friday, May 19

No Meetings Scheduled

All meetings are held in City Hall, 101 City Hall Plaza, unless otherwise indicated. Additional meetings may be scheduled after this list is submitted for publication. Free parking is available during the Council Meeting in the Chapel Hill Street Parking Garage, located across Mangum from City Hall. Any citizen wishing to be heard on agenda matters should called the City Clerk’s Office at 919-560-4166 to place your name on the Speaker’s List.

To learn more about current City of Durham issues and upcoming events, watch CityLife on Time Warner Cable channel 8. CityLife airs Mondays at 6:30 p.m. and Tuesdays at 9 p.m. Citizen input and questions are invited.

building

Big Changes Coming to Durham’s Nc Mutual Building

DURHAM

The NC Mutual building on West Chapel Hill Street is getting a dramatic makeover – one that will see its landmark name stripped from the top of the building.

The 12-story, 1960s-era office tower has been renamed Legacy Tower by a development group led by Michael Lemanski, who plans to update the building to attract new tenants. Earlier this year, NC Mutual announced it would shrink its footprint there from six floors to one, opening up 60,000 square feet of office space there.

Lemanski bought the building in 2006 for $10.5 million, while still with Greenfire Development, according to property records. The original Greenfire investors were bought out several years ago, and the new group contains mainly local investors, he said

The group is pouring $11 million into the renovations.

“The building has good bones,” Lemanski said, noting the changes will be mainly cosmetic.

Changes include restoring the façade, adding a mezzanine to expand the lobby by 13,000 square feet, and improving amenities such as a fitness center and a cafe.

Lemanski said the group is also adding lights to make the building more prominent at night.

The renovations should be complete in 12 months.

The naming rights of the building are also available for purchase – so potentially a new company name will adorn the top of the building again.

The renovations come as the 118-year-old NC Mutual reduces its footprint in Durham. The company, which posted a loss of $479,000 last year, told its shareholders at its annual meeting this year about the building’s transformation.

The company also changed its name in March to NC Mutual rather than continuing to use N.C. Mutual Life, which is currently written on the building’s signage.

Rents will climb significantly once the renovation is completed. Real estate firm Avison Young lists rates at the building between $26 to $29 per square foot.

“We think it can have similar rates as the rest of downtown Durham,” Lemanski said.

Lemanksi hopes the changes will attract creative-class clientele. The architecture firm Perkins+Will has already moved into the building, and he has heard interest from other potential tenants.

“We think (the renovations) will make it an amazing showpiece in downtown,” he said.

Woman Dies in Durham Motorcycle Crash

NC DOT camera showing a ramp closed at US 70 and NC 98.

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — A woman driving a motorcycle died in a crash in Durham early Sunday evening, police said.

The crash happened just before 6:15 p.m. on U.S. Highway 70 near N.C. Highway 98, Durham police said in a news release.

The woman motorcyclist was heading east on U.S. 70 while pulling a trailer, according to police.

The crash only involved the motorcyclist, who died at the scene, police said.

As of 8:10 p.m., the exit ramp from U.S. 70 east to N.C.98 is closed. The on-ramp from N.C. 98 to U.S. 70 east is also closed.

No other details were immediately available.

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